Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 14:00 UK

Deaths put spotlight on equipment

The inquest into the death of Corporal Mark Wright in Afghanistan is not the first time defence chiefs have been criticised over the supply of equipment to troops.

Deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to a number of concerns.

The Ministry of Defence says it is now spending 6bn a year on new equipment and that there have been huge improvements in standards and supply.

CAPT JAMES PHILIPPSON

Capt James Philippson, 29, of 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, died on June 11 2006 in a fire-fight with the Taleban in Helmand Province, in which British forces were "totally out-gunned".

An inquest heard that before his death, soldiers had complained repeatedly about a lack of proper equipment - chiefly standard night vision kits and weaponry.

L/SGT CHRIS CASEY AND L/CPL KIRK REDPATH

Wiltshire coroner David Masters called for a review of armed forces funding at the inquest into the deaths of L/Sgt Chris Casey, 27, and L/Cpl Kirk Redpath, 22, in Iraq.

L/Sgt Chris Casey and L/Cpl Kirk Redpath
L/Sgt Chris Casey (left) and L/Cpl Kirk were escorting a supply convoy

The members of 1st Battalion, Irish Guards were escorting a supply convoy between Kuwait and Basra when they were hit by a home-made explosive in August 2007.

The inquest heard a platoon commander had asked for Mastiffs - more heavily protected vehicles - to be used on the day the two men died, but the vehicles were all in use on another mission.

RED CAP DEATHS

The inquest into the deaths of six Red Caps killed by a mob in Iraq in 2003 heard they did not have enough ammunition or a satellite phone to summon help. A satellite telephone shortage meant units were often sent out without one.

The coroner said the deaths could not have been avoided but indicated he would be writing to the defence secretary in an attempt to prevent further fatalities.

SGT STEVEN ROBERTS

Sgt Steven Roberts, 33, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, was the first British soldier killed in action in Iraq.

Sgt Steven Roberts
Sgt Steven Roberts was the first British soldier killed in action in Iraq in 2003

He was shot dead in a "friendly fire" incident while manning a checkpoint in March 2003. It later emerged he had been ordered to give up his enhanced combat body armour three days before his death, because of shortages.

A coroner ruled he had died because of "unforgivable and inexcusable" delays in providing body armour to troops.

PTE JASON SMITH

Reservist Pte Jason Smith, 32, died of a heart attack brought on by heat-stroke while serving in Iraq in August 2003.

An inquest heard soldiers were forced to get dehydration powders sent from families in the UK after supplies ran out.

L/CPL ANDREW CRAW

In January 2004, L/Cpl Andrew Craw, 21, died while trying to unblock his machine gun during a training session soon after arriving in Basra.

A report of an internal board of inquiry revealed that firing exercises had to be aborted because so many of the guns were jamming, and that there was a shortage of oil to clean and maintain the weapons.

FUSILIER GORDON GENTLE

Gordon Gentle, 19, of the Royal Highland Fusiliers was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in June 2004.

The coroner later ruled it was probable the bomb would not have detonated had an electronic detection device designed to protect troops against roadside attacks been fitted to the vehicle.

PTE MARC FERNS

Pte Marc Ferns from Glenrothes was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when a makeshift bomb exploded next to his Warrior armoured fighting vehicle in August 2004.

An inquest heard his vehicle had also not been fitted with electronic detection equipment.


SEE ALSO
Minister in soldier inquests plea
18 Mar 08 |  South of Scotland
Coroner's bomb death frustration
06 Nov 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Army captain admits to 'failures'
11 Jan 07 |  Tayside and Central
'Justice' call for Red Cap deaths
31 Mar 06 |  North West Wales
Open verdict on Scots Iraq death
16 Nov 05 |  Scotland

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